The most spirited debate and discussion during Tuesday’s Amarillo City Council meeting was created by what is referred to as the Odessa Resolution No. 2023-77. In short, refusing to abide by a mandate to wear masks, get vaccinated or lockdown as was the case during the recent pandemic.

Councilman Tom Schhelen made clear he is for such a resolution. Even after others had hinted at possibly waiting to see what comes of SB-7, which cleared a hurdle in the Texas Legislature Tuesday, Scherlen said he would prefer to join Odessa and lead, not follow in this case.

Ms. Claudia Stravato, a recognized educator, approached the council to encourage it to review how this resolution is worded, adding it is “Pretty arrogant.” She later said there were no mandates during the recent pandemic, to which councilman Scherlen replied, “There were mandates. We closed churches. We closed businesses. We closed mom-and-pop businesses. That’s not freedom.”

Mayor Cole Stanley recognized Stravato for her comments, saying, “I do appreciate your advisement and I think there is some wisdom in what you’re saying.” Stanley added, “What we’re discussing is the right role of government. This is a balancing act and I feel like we got out of balance.” 

Council instructed staff to take what is gleaned from SB-7, amend it if needed and have that ready to present at the next meeting scheduled for October 24.

The process for finding our next City Manager, municipal codes, easements and approval of purchases were also discussed and voted on.